Gratitude for all blessings of our lives can manifest through insight and healing when we can feel thankful during difficult times.
Cultivating gratitude every day can be a powerful catalyst for fortifying happiness in our lives. We may experience gratitude for the amazing people, opportunities, events, and things we feel blessed to have. We may share our gratitude with others to inspire those around us. We may even meditate on gratitude to focus on the positive in a state of the negative.
But… is that all?
Gratitude comes in many forms and how we may experience it can vary a great deal on what our intention is. It is easy for us to find things we are grateful for when life is at ease and in balance. It is easy for us to feel heightened and elevated when our health, relationships, career, and finances are laced with blessings. BUT… it is also in these times that we often forget that we are also vulnerable to loss, disharmony, poor health, pain, and suffering — until life happens and it knocks on our door.
These not-so-wonderful times are the most difficult of all because they can bring us down to our knees. We may lose sight of the good that still exists around us when darkness falls. But these are also the moments where gratitude manifests in blessings at its highest purpose.
Finding Gratitude During Difficult Times
Acknowledging all the amazing things we are thankful for in our lives can bring about a great deal of insight and healing when we feel gratitude in our hardest times. We can remember how difficult things once were and how far we have come since then. We can create a significant contrast in our mindset that can be productive when we reveal the positive change and transformation our pain and suffering has brought forth.
Pause and walk through these exercises.
Gratitude Exercise #1
Remember a time in your life when you felt the heartache from a breakup with someone you care for deeply. This can be a family member, a friend or a significant other. Now, all these months or years later, are you able to look back on the situation and be thankful in some way that things ended when they did?
Gratitude Exercise #2
Remember a time in your life when an illness or injury fell upon you or a loved one. Now, all these months or years later, are you able to look back on the situation and be thankful in some way that you learned something or connected with someone new during your process of healing and recovery?
Gather your thoughts and continue to read on…
When we look back on our lives, we may find times when something happened that seemed awful in the moment and, had it not happened, we wouldn’t have something even better in its place today. There is so much to be learned from our past experiences when we turn it into gold if we’re willing to shift our perspective just a bit.
Likewise, if we experience something difficult happening in our lives today — an important life decision, an impending breakup, confusion about what we’re supposed to do with our lives — be completely honest with yourself (even when the truth is unpleasant) and find something bigger, better and more positive waiting for you on the other end. This is where gratitude comes to life…
We can be thankful for our own courage, self-compassion and patience for our health as we are healing from a physical, emotional or mental challenge. We can find gratitude for handling difficult conversations and situations with humility and grace, or even appreciation for the small relevant things unrelated to our suffering like a roof over our head.
Regardless of what it is, we all run into various situations and circumstances that draws discomfort and tragedy. Even in the most difficult times, we can still slow down, give ourselves permission to reconnect with our heart mind, and find something, even if it’s just a small shred of appreciation, that will pull us together.
It may be difficult but a practice on gratitude helps us create a state of emotional prosperity. It focuses on the good things we have. It gives thanks for the positive outcomes from our past negative experiences. It gives us time to re-evaluate what is important for us to focus on and help us stay positive, calm, centered, and balanced.
Set aside five or ten minutes and complete this last exercise.
Gratitude Exercise #3
Use this guided visualization to journey through an upsetting time, find something positive that came about as a result of what happened (or what’s happening), and cultivate gratitude for it.
- Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed.
- Silence your phone, close the door, and settle into a comfortable seated position.
- With your eyes closed, begin to breath slowly for two minutes.
- Remember a time when things were not going so well — a time when something happened that caused you confusion, pain, or suffering.
- As you think back on this time, take in what happened during this experience.
- Begin to move forward in your mind observing how you navigated through this situation.
- Bring your awareness on the person you were then.
- Continue to move forward in your mind observing where you are currently at in your life. See how far you have come and become aware of the different person you are today.
- As you reflect back on what happened, ask yourself, “What is the gift, positive lesson, or wisdom I received from having had this experience?”
- Continue to observe and evaluate. Ask yourself, “What are you grateful for now as a result of what happened back in your hardest moments?”
- When you’re ready, then take a few more deep breaths and open your eyes.
- Give yourself permission to settle your thoughts and journal if it calls to you.
The biggest thing to remember when practicing gratitude is to meet yourself where you are in the moment and work with what is most readily available to you while you journey on toward greater happiness and healing.